What Every Engineer Should Know About Excel  book cover
2nd Edition

What Every Engineer Should Know About Excel

ISBN 9781138035300
Published October 9, 2017 by CRC Press
247 Pages 203 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Understanding the powerful computational and graphics capabilities of Microsoft Excel is an enormous benefit to engineers and technical professionals in almost any field and at all levels of experience. What Every Engineer Should Know About Excel is a practical guide to unlocking the features and functions of this program, using examples and screenshots to walk readers through the steps to build a strong understanding of the material. This second edition is updated to reflect the latest version of Excel (2016) and expands its scope to include data management, connectivity to external data sources, and integration with "the cloud" for optimal use of the Excel product. It also introduces the ribbon bar navigation prevalent in Microsoft products beginning with the 2007 version of MS Office. Covering a variety of topics in self-contained chapters, this handy guide will also prove useful for professionals in IT, finance, and real estate.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Getting the Most from Microsoft Excel


Introduction to the Microsoft Office Ribbon Bar

Outline of Contents

Chapter 2: Miscellaneous Operations in Excel and Word


Generating a Screen Shot

Custom Keyboard Setup for Symbols in Word or Excel

Viewing or Printing Column and Row Headings and Gridlines in Excel

Miscellaneous Useful Tips and Shortcuts

Moving Objects in Small Increments (Nudging)

Formatting Objects in Word, Including Wrapping

Formatting Objects in Excel

Copying Formulas by Dragging the Fill Handle

Copying Cell Formulas: Effect of Relative and Absolute Addresses

Shortcut for Changing the Status of Cell Addresses

Switching and Copying Columns or Rows, and Changing Rows to Columns or Columns to Rows

Built-In Functions in Excel

Creating Single-Variable Tables

Create Two-Variable Tables


Chapter 3: Charts and Graphs


Moving Dialog Windows

Excel Choices of x-y Scatter Charts

Selecting and Adding Data for x-y Scatter Charts

Changing / Replacing Data for Charts

Adding Data to Charts

Adding Trend Lines and Correlation Equations to Scatter Charts

Equation for R2

Correlation of Experimental Data with Power Relation

Use of Logarithmic Scales

Correlation with Exponential Functions

Use of Different Scatter Graphs for the Same Data

Plot of a Function of Two Variables with Different Chart Types

Plots of Two Variables with and without Separate Scales

Charts Used for Calculation Purposes or G&A Format

Stretching out a Chart

Calculation and Graphing of Moving Averages

Bar and Column Charts

Chart Format and Cosmetics

Surface Charts

An Exercise in 3-D Visualization


Chapter 4: Line Drawings, Embedded Objects, Equations and Symbols in Excel


Constructing, Moving and Inserting Straight Line Drawings

Drawing Line Segments in Precise Angular Increments

Inserting Equation Templates and Symbolsusing Excel and Word

Symbol Insertion

Equation Template Insertion

Inserting Equations and Symbols in Excel using Equation Editor

Construction of Line Drawings from Plotted Coordinates


Chapter 5: Solution of Equations


Solutions to Nonlinear Equations Using Goal Seek

Solutions to Nonlinear Equations Using Solver

Iterative Solutions to Simultaneous Linear Equations

Solutions of Simultaneous Linear Equations Using Matrix Inversion

Error Messages

Solutions of Simultaneous Nonlinear Equations Using Solver

Solver Results Dialog Box

Comparison of Methods for Solution of Simultaneous Linear Equations

Copying Cell Equations for Repetitive Calculations

Creating and Running Macros


Chapter 6: Other Operations


Numerical Evaluation of Integrals

Use of Logical IF Statement

Histograms and Cumulative Frequency Distributions

Normal Error Distributions

Calculation of Uncertainty Propagation in Experimental Results

Fractional Uncertainties for Product Functions of Primary Variables

Multivariable Linear Regression

Multivariable Exponential Regression


Chapter 7: Financial Functions and Calculations



Compound Interest Formulas

Investment Accumulation with Increasing Annual Payments

Payout at Variable Rates from an Initial Investment


Chapter 8: Optimization Problems


Graphical Examples of Linear and Nonlinear Optimization Problems

Solutions Using Solver

Solver Answer Reports for Examples

Nomenclature for Sensitivity Reports

Nomenclature for Answer Reports

Nomenclature for Limits Reports


Chapter 9: Pivot Tables


Other Summary Functions for Data Fields

Restrictions on Pivot Table Formulas

Calculating and Charting Single or Multiple Functions ∂(x) vs. x Using Pivot Tables

Working around Charting Limitations of Excel 2016 – Scatter Charts

Calculation and Plotting Functions of Two Variables


Chapter 10: Data Management Resources in Excel


Organizing Data in Excel Worksheets and Tables

Filtering, Sorting and Use of Subtotals




Useful Data Functions in Excel

Connecting Excel to External Data

General Concepts

Connecting to MS Access

Connecting to MS SQL Server

Connecting to MySQL

Connecting to Other Data Sources

Microsoft Power Query


Chapter 11: Office 365 and Integration with Cloud Resources


What is Office 365

Leveraging Excel on Premise and in the Cloud

Integrating Excel with Cloud Resources

Microsoft Azure

Amazon Web Services

Excel and Microsoft Power BI



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Blake Holman is Chief Information Officer at St. David’s Foundation in Austin, TX. Blake joined the Foundation in 2015 and is responsible for strategic and operational Information Technology (IT) activities, enhancing the Foundation’s ability to be efficient and effective in fulfilling its mission. Prior to St. David’s Foundation, Blake spent 10 years as the Chief Information Officer of Ryan, LLC, the largest independent Tax Consulting Firm in the world. Blake has over 25 years of experience leading Information Technology Strategy, Development and Operations for several public and private companies in the Consulting, Telecommunications and Financial Services industries.

Blake holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, and a Strategic IT Management Certificate from the Scandinavian International Management Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. Blake is currently working on a Master of Science degree in Information Security and Assurance at Western Governor’s University.

In 2011 and 2012, under Blake's leadership, Ryan, LLC was ranked in the InformationWeek 500 listing of the most innovative business technology companies in the United States. In 2011, Ryan was ranked 130th, and in 2012, Ryan's ranking rose to 98th. In both cases, Ryan was the highest ranked corporate tax services firm on the list. In December 2012, Blake was named by Computerworld magazine as one of its 2013 "Premier 100 IT Leaders." The Computerworld Premier 100 IT recognition is an international lifetime award that shines a spotlight on technology.


"What Every Engineer Should Know About Excel is a valuable reference material that can be readily utilized by Engineers, Financial Comptrollers, Investors and Technology professionals in all industries. This second edition to Dr. Holman’s original collection of materials allows today’s Excel users to sharpen their current Excel skills, and take them to the next level, even integrating with cloud resources."
—David A. Schmidt, SCHMIDT & STACY® Consulting Engineers, Inc., Dallas, Texas, USA

"This book unleashes the incredible power Excel offers for engineers and scientists. Reviewing the book, I found myself simply browsing the many features of Excel that I had previously not explored. Every engineer and scientist will benefit from this book at some level and I only regret that I didn’t have access to a guide such as this earlier in my career. This book is extraordinarily well-organized. Any topic of interest can be quickly and easily accessed simply by referring to the Table of Contents. Once located, the topic is clearly and concisely presented with helpful illustrations and examples."
—Stephen M. Collard, St. David's Foundation, Austin, Texas, USA

"What Every Engineer Should Know About Excel is a timely, practical, thorough, and well-written book. It provides clear step-by-step directions on how to utilize Excel to solve simple and complex engineering-related tasks. The book displays excellent insight into the ‘guts’ of Excel’s presuppositions (i.e., how Excel defines terms and formulas) and its powerful built-in functions. It demonstrates concepts in such a manner that a reader is enticed to explore Excel’s virtues. The book serves the needs of both the novice and the expert. It can be used as either a university textbook or as a practical reference guide."
—Mark A. Stone, Business Associate, Bryan, Texas, USA

"What Every Engineer Should Know About Excel is a book that every engineer will find valuable for his or her work. The book begins with an overview of commonly used spreadsheet functions in Excel, including writing and copying formulas, built-in functions, and creating visually appealing charts, graphs, and drawings. Advanced calculation methods are clearly described, with explanations of how to solve nonlinear problems, iterative solution methods, matrix methods, and optimization problems. Practicing engineers will also find the overview of financial functions valuable for engineering financial analysis. The second edition includes new chapters on data management and integrating Excel with the Cloud. The book presents material in a practical step-by-step approach using examples from engineering practice."
—David A. Willis, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA